The Pixel 3a Is Dead

Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo
Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo

The Pixel 3a has been one of our favourite phones over the past year, but it seems its time has come to an end as Google has confirmed that the Pixel 3a has been officially discontinued.

After a little more than a year on the market supply for the Pixel 3a on Google Store began to dry up recently, and in a statement first sent to Android Police, Google said “[The] Google Store has sold through its inventory and completed sales of Pixel 3a. For people who are still interested in buying Pixel 3a, the product is available from some partners while supplies last.”

That means going forward, anyone who still wants to pick up a Pixel 3a will have to rely on third-party retailers. That said, anyone who is actually in the market for a new mid-range may really want to hold off for a bit, because the real question now is what happened to the Pixel 4a?

Last year Google released the Pixel 3a at Google I/O in early May, and it was generally expected that Google would follow suit this year for the Pixel 4a. Unfortunately, due to covid-19 and the subsequent quarantine, Google’s plans were thrown for a loop.

Unfortunately, there’s still no official word on when the Pixel 4a might become available, and with rumours claiming the Pixel 4a could get announced anytime between now and October, it’s hard to predict when the Pixel 4a will actually go on sale.

But if you’ll allow me to speculate…what probably happened is that like a lot of other recent gadgets, production delays forced Google to postpone the Pixel 4a’s intended release window. Then, after finally being able to ramp up production, Google may have decided to delay the Pixel 4a’s release again to avoid the recent slump in smartphones sales, which has seen smartphone sales drop by 20% worldwide.

According to Gartner senior research analyst Anshul Gupta “The coronavirus pandemic caused the global smartphone market to experience its worst decline ever.”

While this line of thinking seems quite reasonable, unfortunately, it means that when inventory for the Pixel 3a finally dried up, Google didn’t have a new model to replace it. And what makes this chain of events feel even more awkward is that despite delays for other devices, Apple still went ahead and released the new iPhone SE earlier this spring, which would be a natural competitor for the Pixel 4a.

So while we continue to wait for word on the Pixel 4a, let’s take a quick moment to remember the Pixel 3a, a phone that combined good performance, simple design, reasonable price, and camera quality on a par with some of the best phones on the market, which is all you really want from a great, mid-range phone.